After last weekend’s 3-3 draw against QPR, it was absolutely vital that the Royals picked up points against Peterborough United at the Select Car Leasing Stadium. Both sides came into the game in the bottom three with poor defensive records, and it was set to be one of the biggest games of the season just seven games in.
After a poor first half, John Swift continued his brilliant form to put Reading 1-0 with a stunning free kick. Tom Dele-Bashiru scored shortly after to make it two. Peterborough did score through Nathan Thompson to make it a nervy last 16 minutes but Dele-Bashiru scored with two minutes to go to give the Royals all three points.
Reading now sit 15th in the table. After the game Veljko Paunovic discussed how important the result was; he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Paunovic on the performance
“The result was very important for us to help us get our confidence back, and we got the result we needed. I’m very happy with the performance today too and we are recovering our mojo.
“We were ruthless in attack – we scored three goals today again! We are getting better in defence, although that is a work in progress. But a lot of positives. I saw both the urgency and the composure, which I didn’t see in previous games. Those qualities tell me we are going in the right direction.
“We have a lot of good individual players. And now it is important that good team performances follow. The team is important and good team performances will benefit the players individually. Once we scored a goal, we have to know there is a chance to score another one. And the team were on the front foot, pushing forward, and the game was under control.”
“And today the team knew how to deal with the pressure. There are still lots of things we need to improve on, but this is a great trigger for us to create a momentum, an atmosphere within the group where we can feel success.”
Paunovic on the team gelling together
“Given the circumstances, we have made progress. And it is only going to get better. It is a process that is going to take time… I know everyone wants it now. But we need people to get fit, we need our new signings to understand how we play – and in games like this they can see our qualities and where we need to improve, whether they are on the field or watching from the stands or the bench.
“The second part of the process is getting the team to know each other better and build the confidence playing together. That process is already happening but it is going to take some time.
“It was a fantastic goal and a very good performance from Tom Dele-Bashiru for example. He was our earliest signing in the window, so he is furthest through that process – now he’s in good shape, he has learned what he needs to learn, the players around him know what he can bring to the table and… there you are. A great performance from him today.
“We go through that process together, getting result like tonight is good, building our form, our shape, and we will eventually be on a successful path.”
Paunovic on Luke Southwood’s display
“Luke had a very good game and the team’s performance overall helped him to feel more safe and secure. But he provided the team with his security and confidence, and interventions in the first half.
“He was very calm and composed on the ball and that gave us time and a chance to build momentum. Overall, the defensive performance was better but still we have to improve things.”
Paunovic on coping with injuries
“It’s difficult to manage but it’s part of the game and we have to be ready to assess them and provide the players with the right treatments to return as soon as possible. In the meantime, we have to adjust and adapt to the circumstances and expectations. We don’t know what to expect on the injury side, but we have to be very careful.
“A lot of players now are starting to accumulate fatigue and this week is crucial for that so we are monitoring their load. As soon as we can add pieces, we have to be savvy how we manage the load and the circumstances.”
Paunovic on Liam Moore going off injured
“He was in pain and on crutches so that’s an obvious indicator it’s not a simple injury, so we’ll see what the outcome of the scan is.”
Paunovic on John Swift’s seventh goal in seven games
“He’s improving his football, that’s what we do here. We look to provide our players with ideas and solutions to excel their talent. It’s definitely his credit that he’s buying everything and capable of applying. Those free-kicks are pure talent.
“I believe in the past he even invested in a free-kick coach and now he knows what to do. He doesn’t need to practice that much. It’s great to have that resource on the team. Alen Halilovic is also a set-piece taker and he is left footed so now we are stronger and will hopefully get better.”
Paunvoic On Dele-Bashiru’s brace
“Dele-Bashiru is a great example of the process of where the team is right now. He is an example of how long it took for someone who came in the transfer window on time and then went through training, video analysis, meetings, etc, repeating the process, his teammates and the team get to know him and then he has this performance.
“With this example, that’s what we expect to happen with all our signings. Therefore, especially with those who came late in the window, it will take some time and when that time is consumed the team will be better.”
Paunovic on Tom Holmes
“Tom Holmes is another good example. He went through everything he needed to know last season and when we started this season, we told him he wasn’t starting but he was very important for the team.
“And with Luke too - we know what they can provide and they were ready so we didn’t hesitate for one second - having players who had been with us for a long time they could do the job so that’s a great resource for us.”
Paunovic on the importance of the win
“I must say, it was a relief, especially as we have been punished severely in the past few games. Sometimes it felt like everything was going against us. We needed to turn the wheel forward.
“In the last game we stopped it going backwards and now we are turning it forward. When the wheel starts to run, that’s what we are chasing. We are now chasing three consecutive results and performances, and individuals who can do the job.”